The Logical Basis of Metaphysics

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Michael Dummett's new book is the greatly expanded and recently revised version of his distinguished William James Lectures, delivered in 1976. Dummett regards the construction of a satisfactory theory of meaning as the most pressing task of contemporary analytical philosophy. He believes that the successful completion of this difficult assignment will lead to a resolution of problems before which philosophy has been stalled, in some instances for centuries. These problems turn on the correctness or incorrectness of a realistic view of one or another realm--the physical world, the mind, the past, mathematical reality, and so forth. Rejection of realism amounts to adoption of a variant semantics, and often of a variant logic, for the statements in a certain sector of our language. Dummett does not assume the correctness of any one logical system but shows how the choice between different logics arises at the level of the theory of meaning and depends upon the choice of one or another general form of meaning-theory. In order to determine the correct shape for a meaning-theory, we must attain a clear conception of what a meaning-theory can be expected to do. Such a conception, says Dummett, will form "a base camp for an assault on the metaphysical peaks: I have no greater ambition in this book than to set up a base camp."

 

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Contents

Metaphysical Disputes over Realism
1
Semantic Values
20
Inference and Truth
40
Theories of Truth
61
Meaning Knowledge and Understanding
83
Ingredients of Meaning
107
Truth and MeaningTheories
141
The Origin and Role of the Concept of Truth
165
Circularity Consistency and Harmony
200
Holism
221
ProofTheoretic Justifications of Logical Laws
245
The Fundamental Assumption
265
Stability
280
TruthConditional MeaningTheories
301
Realism and the Theory of Meaning
322
Index
353

The Justification of Deduction
184

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About the author (1991)

Michael Dummett was Wykeham Professor of Logic, Emeritus, at the University of Oxford.

Michael Dummett was Wykeham Professor of Logic, Emeritus, at the University of Oxford.

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